Saturday, October 31, 2009


What a pretty flower. It is from a raintree. Nice reflection of the flower. Iy is actually a very small flower and this picture is a close-up of it.

Here is the raintree with its yellow flowers in bloom. I am not sure what the red things are. The trees start off yellow and gradually the flowers drop off and the red things are left (anyone know what those red things are?). I was sitting under this tree in my pick-up truck resting while Mary was looking at some items in a yard sale across the street. We were about three or four blocks from home. Suddenly a flower fell off the tree and landed on my hood. Then another. And then another still. What I nice shine on the hood in the picture below. Never had to wax it. I don’t think that you have to wax cars anymore. I think that there is a plastic coating over the paint. Isn’t modern technology great.

When a breeze came up, it would snow yellow flowers. They were all over the ground under the tree.

Here you can see them all over the ground in front of my truck. How do you like that Chevy emblem on the front of my truck? Yep, I’m a Chevy man. This is the third Chevy pick-up that I have owned. No Fords. When I go to the stock car races, I always root for the Chevy cars to win. If it weren’t for the serendipity of Mary wanting to stop for the yard sale, I would have missed all of this experience with the yellow raintree flowers. I had seen the raintrees with the yellow flowers from a distance as I drove down the road but until now I never knew just how pretty the flowers are up close as the top picture shows. I was in the right place at the right time. Have a day of discovery today and slow down to take a look at and smell the flowers. Be good. Lew

Friday, October 30, 2009

alternate uses

I know that this may seem like a strange post for a blog bgut you know, I use my digital camera for taking pictures of things other than flowers and scenery. Whenever I work on something or doing repairs, I always get pictures before I start so that I can get things back to the way they were in the beginning. It is really quite helpful. Although it seems simple to remember these things sometimes I become unsure of how something goes back together and all I have to do is look at the picture to refresh the memory. For example, the wire on my headphones got broken off of both earpieces and so the bad portion of the wire had to be unsoldered and cut out and the good portion of the wire resoldered. There were two different wires for each speaker, a colored wire and a bare wire. The colored wire goes on the contact on the right and the bare wire goes on the contact on the left. Or was it the other way around?
I check my picture and sure enough, the colored wire goes on the left not the right. Good thing that I checked. See what I mean about having the picture?
I use a magnifying lens in front of the camera to make the close ups even closer.
This method of taking pictures also helped me recently when I was doing a plumbing repair on the sink. The vertical rod that controls the sink stopper in the bathroom stopped working. I look under the sink and take a picture and printed it. Then it was off to the hardware store where I show the picture to the guy at the hardware store while I am telling him what happened. I think that he was looking at the picture more than listening to me because the picture was more helpful to him than my disjointed explanation. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words. I got the right part at the hardware store the first time and the job went smoothly at home. I find digital cameras great because the pictures are free, no expensive processing like with film-type cameras. But I must admit that most of my pictures are nature pictures. The beauty of nature is everywhere and I love getting pictures of it. Have a nice day and try to stay cool. Have an icee, preferably one of the blue ones which are my favorite. Be kind to someone today. Lew

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

upside-down world

This is our topsy-turvy tomato plant and it is doing just fine. Soon we should have lots of red luscious tomatoes just waiting to be picked. At least that is what they show on the picture on the box. But today as I was leaving the house I looked at the plant and a humorous thought occured to me. The earth is a large round ball and the people in the northern hemisphere are standing upright on it. Logical, right? Those on top would be standing straight up. Now see if you can follow this illogical logic. As viewed from space, the people on the bottom of the ball (southern hemisphere) would be standing upside down. Like folks in Australia for example. So wouldn’t a young tomato plant from Australia work better in the topsy-turvy planter better because of it being from Australia and the plant would already be use to growing upside down? Now that bit of fractured logic should draw a lot of flak from the people down under. Now I want the people of Australia to know that I like Crocodile Dundee and Quigley Down Under and Mel Gibson lived near me when he was very young and living in New York State. So Aussie’s, please go easy on me for my tongue-in-cheek humor.
With that said, I had better end this blog. I have dug myself into a deep-enough hole already. Everyone have a nice day and everyone who is experiencing cool weather, be grateful. It is hot here in Florida. Lew

Sunday, October 25, 2009

pretty blue sky

St. Joseph’s Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona. Circa, 1970. It is 3:30 in the afternoon and I have finished my work shift. I go and walk down the stairwell at the back of the hospital and exit the rear door of the hospital into a large asphalt area which is a loading dock area. To my left is a large white tank that holds the liquid oxygen for the patients in the hospital. Initially, the gas flows through pipes surrounded by cooling fins or should I say “warming fins” because the purpose of the fins is to warm the oxygen before reaching the patient. The fins are perpetually coated with a thick layer of ice. The fins are hosed down daily with water to melt the ice from the fins. This day, I am in luck. The liquid oxygen supply truck is making a delivery and has what looks like a fire hose running from the tanker to the liquid oxygen tank as it pumps the liquid oxygen from the truck to the tank. I have watched this a number of times before and I know the treat that I am in store for. I stand around talking to the driver as a stalling tactic until he is finished pumping and disconnects the hose. When the pumping is completed, the hose is still full of liquid oxygen. Lots of it. Gallons and gallons of it. And when he disconnects the hose from the truck he lets the liquid oxygen pour out from the hose onto the asphalt of the parking lot. I loved watching the liquid oxygen flow from the end of the hose because it had a beautiful light blue color to it. The first time that I had watched this I had expected for the liquid oxygen to be clear. But it was this pretty shade of light blue. Interesting and fascinating. But wait, this is Phoenix, Arizona known as the Land of the Sun and it was summertime. We all know what a bright hot sun does to an asphalt parking lot. Hot, hot, hot. When the liquid oxygen hits that hot asphalt it turns into a fog. The fog would hug the ground and last because it was continually fed by fog from the remaining liquid oxygen on the ground. Even on the ground, the liquid oxygen was still blue. It was always fun to watch and for the driver I was just a gadfly during his deliveries. I always watched the show of pretty blue and spectacular white clouds of fog. And so I as I sat at the dining room table looking east out the window this morning as the dawn broke I saw how pretty the pale blue sky was just like the liquid oxygen. How nice it is that the planet earth has blue skies instead of the red skies of Mars. Blue is a prettier color. What a nice way to start the day, a pretty view of the sunrise and a pleasant memory of times past. Lew

Saturday, October 24, 2009

roast beef hash

Today is Saturday and that means “big breakfast day”. Sometimes we have corned beef hash which has been browned in the toaster oven and then two eggs placed on top of the hash. We were grocery shopping a few days ago and Mary asked me if I had ever had roast beef hash. I told her that I hadn’t and asked if we could try the roast beef hash instead of the corned beef hash to see what the difference was. So this morning it was roast beef hash. We both agreed that it was good but that the corned beef hash was better because it was more flavorful. Cinnamon raisin English muffins with pineapple jam on top rounded out the breakfast. This morning we will be washing the front windows of the house and then in the afternoon after lunch I will be taking my x-ray continuing education course test on-line. The test will probably take me at least an hour and a lot of concentration and brain-picking. Have a nice day. Lew

Frankenstein cake

This is the cake that Mary baked for Halloween. It is aptly called “The Frankenstein cake" because of all the different ingredients in it. Sort of like making a Frankenstein monster out of a leg her and an arm there (gross). The cake is a yellow cake mix with orange food coloring mixed in to give it that Halloween color. Raisins, chocolate chips and butterscotch chips were added. Starting to sound like a Frankenstein cake yet?

Then she iced the cake with a coconut and pecan icing. Quite a mixture of unrelated things for the Halloween cake which is more affectionately known as the Frankenstein cake. We shall get to taste it after lunch today. Bon appetit as Julia Childs use to say. Remember her? Lew

Friday, October 23, 2009

flowers everywhere

Mary likes to decorate with flowers. Even the garage is decorated. The top of the water heater has its bouquets.

There are even flowers above the windows in the garage. This window faces west.

This window faces south.

And the door faces south also. Lots of pretty decorations to cheer everything up. The garage can be either ho-hum or cheery with the flowers. I like the “cheery garage” with the flowers better. So how did you like the artificial flower show? The pictures were taken during the wee hours of the morning before the sun came up and that is why it is dark outside the windows and door. I get up each morning usually between 5:00 am and 5:30 am. Hopefully soon, we will be turning the clocks back an hour. That will give us an extra hour to sleep in. Have a cheery day. Lew

Thursday, October 22, 2009

noctilucent-like clouds

I thought that this cloud was pretty as it was tinted red from the setting sun. It reminds me of a noctilucent cloud.

Today Mary got a Christmas tree. Not a real tree but an artificial one. And not any ol’ run-of-the-mill artificial tree. This one is a special one. When you take the tree out of the box, the limbs are already attached and they fall into place by gravity. And the best part of all is that the lights are already on the tree. Not white lights but the pretty colored ones. Plug it in and we have got an instant Christmas tree. And when it is time to take the tree down, just turn the tree upside down and the limbs fold up into their storage position. How about that for convenience. Lew

party animals

Guess who has had a party again? Yep, the neighbors. Judging by the backyard, it looks as though they must have had a good time.

I think that I am going to buy some stock in Budweiser. Is there a deposit on beer bottles? There should be.

Once again comes the famous question, “Are the men going to clean up this mess?” What do you think? Lew

Sunday, October 18, 2009

cool, chilly, cold

This is Mary tending to Benny the Bunny. She is probably looking to the left to the neighbor’s yard because the children next door are probably calling out to her. They want to see the rabbit and sometimes she takes the rabbit over to the fence so that they can pet it. The children enjoy petting the rabbit. As can be seen in the picture the wire mesh of the cage is around 1” by 4”. Except on the bottom. The bottom of the cage is essentially open with the wires being about 6” by 12” apart. This allows the rabbit to hop around on the grass which he likes to nibble on. Plus he can get all of the smells of the earth. He really enjoys it out in the yard. His cabana as I call it. He also has a large tri-level cage in the house. He also gets to run around in a room on the back of the house in the afternoons which is the dining room. His favorite past-time in the dining room is pushing balloons around on the floor. He is most friendly at night when he gets to run around on the couch. He is very friendly to Mary and likes to rub noses with her. He seems to be a pretty happy bunny. With all his fur he will probably like this cooler weather that we are having. Actually this morning it is downright cold out there. At least it was at 5:00 am when I got up. I know that is early and I sometimes wonder if I am the only person up at that time.

From where I sit in the dining room at this early hour typing on my laptop, I am facing east and so I can see the sunrise through the window. I am noticing that the sun is coming up later and later as we approach the winter solstice which is quite a ways away yet. I guess that the terrible heat of summer is behind us. Today we are going grocery shopping and hot chocolate mix is high on the list of items to get. Nothing like a hot steaming mug of hot chocolate on a cold day and warming your hands with the hot mug. And of course, don’t forget the little marshmallows floating on the top of the hot chocolate.

This morning it is grits with red eye gravy and country ham in it and biscuits for breakfast. Boy, that is definitely southern “cracker” food. If you live in the “south” then it is obligatory that you occasionally eat some southern “cracker” food.

I checked the thermometers and the temperature in the house is 68 degrees and out in the garage it is 54 degrees. Since the garage is enclosed and probably gets some heat from the house, I suspect that it is colder than 54 degrees out in the yard. But I am not complaining about the cold weather. The memory of the summer heat is still fresh in my mind. In a way it reminds of that saying of Jackie Gleason that “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor, and rich is better”. Well, I’ve been cold and I’ve been hot, and cold is better. Enjoy the cool weather while we can because we all know what is coming after winter and spring. That’s right, a hot summer once again. Go reheat your coffee in the microwave, have some chili for lunch, and make it a great day. Lew

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mary came into the house and told me that there was a rainbow outside and for me to come and see it. I grabbed my camera on the way out because I knew that I would want to get a picture of it. The rainbow was a complete arc stretching from the ground up high into the sky and back down to the ground again.

There is always something magical about rainbows. Perhaps it is all those colors. Or perhaps it is the lure of that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The rainbow was so big that I couldn’t get all of it in one picture. I wonder what the ancient peoples thought of them. Were they taken in by their beauty and color also? I think so.
Cool at last, cool at last, thank goodness cool at last. That is a fractured quote from Dr. Martin Luther Kings sermon “I had a dream”, which is his most remembered sermon among the general public. The cool front has finally arrived and when I went outside this morning the air was crisp. The coolness felt good to a blue belly northerner. Cool weather is nice, especially at Christmas. After all, who wants to see a Santa perspiring heavily in his large red suit. It just isn’t the same as I remember as a child growing up in a hamlet in New York. Yes, I grew up in a hamlet. Highland is evidently too small to be classified as a town and so is classified as a hamlet. A hamlet sounds like some place where Frodo Baggins and the other Hobbits live. It was very country and a nice place to grow up. But now I am in sunny Florida and I intend to enjoy this cool air from the cold front that moved into the area. It is as if the whole outdoors is air conditioned like the house. This is the week-end and so everybody have a nice big hearty breakfast to ward off the chills and keep the coffee coming. Lew

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

topsy turvy

This is one of the fun gifts that I got Mary for her birthday. I have seen them advertised on television. Has anyone had any experience with growing tomatoes this way? Do you really get basketfuls of luscious ripe tomatoes? If nothing else it should be fun trying out this system for growing tomatoes. I am always a sucker for all of those things that you see on television. I like tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches or just devouring a ripe tomato like an apple. Yummy. Have a cool day inside the air conditioned house or drip with perspiration out in the yard. Lew

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

break-away cake

This is a break-away cake. To eat the cake you just break off a cupcake and enjoy.

Mary made this cake last night and it will serve as her birthday cake for today. She still has about five or six presents to open yet and then we are planning on going to the movies this afternoon at the West Oaks mall. We have a coupon for our free popcorn plus a birthday coupon for a free large soda at the theater (what a savings!) and also a coupon for a free pepperoni pretzel at Auntie Anne’s pretzel place. Today is Mary's actual birthday. It is always best to celebrate your birthday on the actual day.
Yesterday we got lots of DVD’s from the library to watch and some of them are really exceptionally good. We have Showtime and The Movie Channel free for a month but there really doesn’t seem to be all that much on it that is of interest. Besides, we have literally hundreds and hundreds of channels to watch on the regular cable television. I can barely remember the early days of television when there were only two or three channels and they wouldn’t start broadcasting until the afternoon and then end late at night. No 24 hour broadcasting like now. Our first set was a Dumont black and white. Our neighbors from across the street would come over to the house to watch our television. But they didn’t do that for long. When they saw ours, I think that they went out and got their own. What a difference today is with our hundreds of stations to watch on our large high definition color television. What an agony it would be to go back to that black and white Dumont. It isn’t that the old days weren’t so good, I have just become spoiled by modern technology. Have a nice day and I promise that cooler weather is coming. "Grant me patience in waiting for the cooler weather, but hurry" as the expression goes. Lew

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Tammy the cat has gotten herself an owie as we use to call a hurt when we were children. In the picture she is showing everyone her hurt leg by holding it up. Looking for sympathy which she has gotten lots of from both Mary and I. As soon as the veterinary office opens this morning we are going to call and make an appointment for her. Yesterday she was walking on the front leg but with a slight limp. Now today she won’t step on it at all. Perhaps the sore leg has just stiffened up on her during the night. But all of that is for our veterinarian to figure out. Mary and I think that she probably hurt her leg while climbing over the chain link fence into the neighbor’s yard. The chain link fence which is about 4 feet high is covered with a mass of grape vines. The vines are just twisted and inter-tangled all together. My guess is that her foot slipped down into the tangled mess causing her to fall and hurting her front leg which was still hung up in the grape vine tangle. That is all wild speculation but it sounds reasonable. I don’t know why she likes going into the neighbor’s yard because our yard is so much better. But she does it all the time.

But she still has her appetite which is good. Here she is eating breakfast at 5:00 am this morning. She is holding up her injured paw while she eats. Maybe she stepped on something and injured her paw? All speculation as Mary and I worriedly try to figure out what is wrong with her. The vet will take good care of her and give us a bill for that care but she is worth it. We will still fret and worry though about her until we get her to the vet’s office. Everyone have a nice day. Tammy’s day can only get better since she has gotten off to a bad start. No where to go but up as they say. Lew

Friday, October 2, 2009

Jack and the Beanstalk

This flower just keeps growing and growing. It reminds me of the story of Jack and the beanstalk. It is up to four feet high and still going strong. I transplanted it to a much larger pot because it was getting “root bound”. Although you can only see two of the flowers now, there is actually a total of four flowers on it right now. The other two are on the other side facing in the opposite direction. I never have much luck at growing plants and when something does grow well, I am amazed by it. I had to use some string to tie the plant up because it was tipping over because it had gotten so tall. This plant seems to be a continuing saga with monthly installments. More to come on the amazing flower next month. Lew

Thursday, October 1, 2009

bunny cabana

bunny cabana. Well, sort of a cabana. There is no ocean or seashore but it is outside in the back yard and he goes there to play and have fun but yet have shelter from the sun. The bottom of the cage has a very large size mesh. Probably about 4” x 8”. This allows him to be able to walk (or should I say hop) on the grass as you can see in the picture below.

But he is a smart bunny. He knows that if he can reach the latching mechanism and
rotate it and slide it back he can get out the door. Here he is trying to make an escape.

He has a bowl of water, some lettuce to munch on, and grass under his feet. Bunny paradise. He almost has the latching mechanism figured out but he just has trouble reaching it. Time to go. The sky is starting to turn a dim blue as dawn is breaking. Another day. Another adventure. Each day is truly unique and memorable. Be sure to take time to smell the flowers. Really. When you see a flower, go over to it and smell it. But don’t pick it. Although some flowers don’t seem to have a fragrance from afar but up close they can have the most wonderful aromas. No wonder butterflies like them so much. Have one terrific day. Lew